Design Competition: Pay or Not to Pay


I wanted to get feedback on some ideas I've been having.  I'm a recent graduate from UW, working in the Tacoma area and I'm going to be starting up a design competition in the Seattle area with the help of some local sponsors.  I'm asking people on this forum to chime in their .02cents on the following:

- If you're looking to enter a design competition, would you be completely against it if there is a registration fee ( somewhere between $30 as an early bird - $75 late registration)?  What if there are no other costs involved? No shipping involved and all that jazz.

- Opposite question:  What if its free to enter, but there's costs at the end instead of upfront?  For example, if you send in materials you'd have to pay for shipping and the printing of materials.  I'm hoping I can get people from overseas, China, Australia, Canada, etc. to participate, but I know shipping can be a pain.  Not to mention if someone from NY wants to participate, it's not going to be easy for them to ship things.

Feedback would be great!

Aug 18, 13 6:29 pm
The Arquitektonix

My vote would be to pay, and just try to get in on the early bird special of 30 bucks. Printing costs wear down the plotter, the toner cartridges, the test prints, etc.. You hit the nail on the head regarding the shipping costs.  I think paying upfront would be the best alternative and less hectic for who ever is competing.  

Aug 18, 13 6:39 pm

If someone is going to put in the time and effort to submit work they shouldn't have to pay for the privilege to do so. Production and mailing expenses are out-of-pocket costs of the entrant.

Entry fees create a barrier where there shouldn't be one - not for an established firm but certainly for a student or a struggling small office. Also, entry fees are commonly used simply to generate revenue. This is very common in the art world.

Serious competitions are staged with winners selected to advance to further rounds with a defined stipend for producing additional work.

Aug 18, 13 8:03 pm
The Arquitektonix

Seatac, how much exactly are you charging for your competition?

I understand where Miles is coming from, especially if it's $100 or 100 Euros, etc.. as I've seen in many design competition announcements. However, if it's only $40 than I don't see anything wrong with that.  Usually competitions aren't done alone, or I should say, I never did one alone.  With 2 or 3 friends, a $40 entry fee is about $15 a piece. Not too bad than shelling out 50 or 100 bucks each.

Aug 19, 13 11:32 pm
We are looking to use a registration fee of $45. The money used will be to pay honorariums to guest speakers at a public event , and help offset costs at that event. So the money would still be used as part of the potential contest.
Aug 20, 13 10:53 pm

@The Arquitektonix, @: totally agree with you!

I agree with seatac's system. The ammount of savings you end up having just by registering soon are quite relevant!

Jul 5, 14 3:08 pm

This is a very old thread but the topic is still interesting.  A new design compeition with no history of prestige shouldn't be charging at all.  You have to build a reputation for discrimination and prestige.  You have none of those.  To get them you need to gather as many participants as possible so you might 'discover' some growing talent.  Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.


Pacific Land Design

Jul 5, 14 3:22 pm

Seriously any time you are going to ask an architect if he or she should pay for their own work they are going to say no.

Jul 5, 14 9:48 pm

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